Never Be Boring: 5 Ways to Never Be Boring as a Keynote Speaker

Never Be Boring by Myra Golden
Never Be Boring, a photo by Myra Golden on Flickr

My clients pay me to deliver a message and they expect me to deliver that message in an engaging, energetic and entertaining way. I put a lot of energy into designing and rehearsing my keynotes and training sessions so that I’m not that boring speaker we all hate. Here are 5 ways I make sure I’m never boring on the keynote stage.

1. I get my audience laughing right off the bat. I don’t walk on the stage saying “Hello” or asking my audience how they are doing. I learned a long time ago that if I could get my audience laughing, I could quickly create rapport, establish my credibility and set the tone for my message. A relevant story with some humor or surprise is my favorite way to kick off a keynote.

2. I limit my PowerPoint slides. (Often, speakers rely too heavily on PowerPoint slides.) I think PowerPoint can be great, but not if it distracts the speaker from her audience. If you’re looking at your slides, fumbling with your remote or reading slides, you’re not focused on your audience. For a 60-minute keynote, I’ll typically have no more than 6 slides. And those 6 slides are usually full screen graphics that emphasize key points of my message. By not focusing on PowerPoint (technology), I am free to focus all of my attention on my audience.

3. I  limit my message to 3 key ideas. A keynote is a short, high impact message designed to inspire people to take action. You can’t give people 10 steps to your method or introduce a half dozen different concepts in a 60-minute message. I give my audience 3 powerful ideas that will help them achieve our goal. They get stories, examples and inspiration to fully master my 3 ideas.

4. Every 8 minutes I introduce some “spice.” I read some research several years ago that said adults will only give you their attention for 8 minutes at a time. After that, they begin to tune you out. So, every 8 minutes I add some spice to my message. That spice might be a powerful story, YouTube video, humor or an interactive opportunity.

5.  I give my audience 100% of my attention. Perhaps the best way I avoid being boring on stage is that I don’t allow anything to come between me and my audience. I don’t use notes so I never have to break eye contact with my audience to look at papers. I rehearse well so I know exactly how long my speech will take and that means I never have to look at my watch. I look at my audience, be that an audience of 50, 500 or 5000 people, squarely and my focus is 100% on the people in front of me.

The next time you have to give a presentation, consider my 5 tips for never being that boring speaker. When you do, you’ll easily rock the stage!

If your dream is to be a professional speaker, check out my “Booked-solid Professional Speaker” Workshop. It begins October 17, 2012.

How I Build a Keynote Presentation

What a Myra Golden Training is Like

Ways I Engage My Audiences

How to Get Customer Service Reps to Express Empathy

Are you a corporate trainer who is looking for customer service training to deliver to your team?

Put all of your eggs in one basket and watch that basket!

Photo credit: Myra Golden

Concentrate your energies, your thoughts and your capital. The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket.

Andrew Carnegie

If there’s one thing that I’ve mastered in my professional life, it’s focus. I started my speaking and consulting business in 2001 and since that time, I have fiercely focused on managing and growing this business. Over the years many people have tried to lure me into multi-level marketing organizations. Clients have offered me jobs with amazing salaries. Colleagues have invited me into “partnership” opportunities. I’ve easily turned down every offer. Speaking is what I do. Period. I don’t get sidetracked by doubt, negative thinking, other ventures, a recessed economy or a job. I have put all of my energy, thoughts, and capital into the basket of my professional speaking and the fruits have been sweet and endless.

Living your dreams requires putting everything into your dream basket. Whether that dream is writing a book, starting a business, singing, or anything, you have to give it all of your energy, positive thoughts and focus. That is the surest way to obtain your dream. Put all of your eggs in your dream basket and watch that basket.

If your dream is to be a professional speaker, check out my “Booked-solid Professional Speaker” Workshop. It begins October 17, 2012.

You win some. You lose some.

 Portrait of a smiling business woman with an afro in bright glass office 

I recently got booked for a keynote by a small company. The Meeting Planner loved me. She presented my credentials to the booking committee and they loved me. I had the green light and even a written confirmation of booking. But then, the Head Hancho abruptly put the breaks on. Apparently, he didn’t like me so much and he yanked the deal. In person he seemed to like me and even told me he’d be sending the check for my deposit right away. After 12 years as a full time keynote speaker, this is the first time I’ve had a deal fall through like this. I was tempted to feel upset and bitter. But I caught myself.

In my regular daily prayer and meditation, I granted my client the freedom to choose. My client has the right to change his mind and to make the choice that he feels is best for his organization. There is no benefit in me feeling bitter or questioning his decision. I simply must release this, bless the organization, and move on. I prayed for the success of my client’s annual conference. I prayed that the keynoter they ultimately go with knocks their socks off. I prayed for prosperity over the client’s organization. And then I let it go.

Give people the freedom to choose. Learn to let go. Bless others, even when they don’t do exactly what you want them to do. You’ll win some and you’ll lose some and that’s okay.

Zappos Clever Marketing at Airports


I have traveled throughout North America speaking at conferences and conventions about the Zappos Customer Experience. From the perspective of both a consumer and a consultant, I am a fan of Zappos. I’ve spent 3 years studying their culture and I now share my insights with my clients. But do you know how I first heard of Zappos? At the airport. Yes, the airport.

At my local airport, all of the plastic bins in security are adorned with advertising from Zappos. Pretty clever for a shoe company to advertise in those security bins since we all have to take our shoes off in security. I’ve seen Zappos advertising in airports throughout the US and I always smile when I see their name in the bins. Not only is Zappos in front of potential customers, but they add a little humor too. Read the advertising in the above picture.

Think about how you might cleverly position your brand in front of your audience. Think out of the box.  For example, how might you engage your audience with humor, an invitation to visit your site via a QR Code, or with a question?

How I Use My Website for Customer Support

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I started my business in 2001, just as websites began to take the place of expensive brochures and other paper mailings. On a mission to save money, market wisely and stay “green,” I never invested in brochures, letterhead or fliers. Never. One-hundred percent of my marketing literature is and has always been, online.

But I use my website to do more than replace expensive and wasteful print media. One of the most significant functions of my site is to improve my client experience while giving me more time. Here are the top 3 ways I use my website,

1. Client Self Support (CSS)
My site serves as a self-service portal for my clients. Clients can retrieve lost passwords for their eLearning suites, get technical support for live webinars, reserve a date for a keynote session, review my calendar, and get answers to frequently asked questions. My Online Assistant can place a hold on dates for Meeting Planners who are planning a meeting and even help clients execute agreements. This self-service allows my clients and visitors to get immediate help and it frees me because I don’t have to handle calls and emails for simple inquiries.

2. Make it Easy for Clients to Work with Me
My primary customer is the Meeting Planner who has booked me to deliver a keynote or a customer service training session. My website puts everything meeting planners need right at their fingertips. Meeting Planners can download my A/V requirements, print out my introduction, get details on my handouts, retrieve my bio for their brochures, download my high-resolution photos and learn how to arrange the room for my presentation right from my website. Meeting planners have often complimented my online tools, citing ease and quickness of use.

3. Customer Service Training Registration
Monthly I host live customer service web seminars. When we first started organizing webinars, I spent a great deal of time responding to phone calls and emails to take registrations. Today, registration payments are handled 100% online without any human interaction. Customers register, get webinar handouts and login details and their receipts all online. This has been a great convenience for my clients and a tremendous timesaver for me.

Smart small and mid-size businesses use their websites as more than an online brochure. Optimize your site for client self-service. When you do, you’ll give your customers an even better online experience, and you’ll be blessed with more freedom. Explore my website for creative ideas on client self-service.